Black Friday is upon us. By now, I’m sure you’re all counting your pennies, praying you’ve got enough in your overdraft to cover that new 4K TV that some store is selling for an immense bargain and getting your riot gear ready to storm all the shops. If you’re smart, you’ll stay in this weekend and spend all your money on some sweet-ass TKT threads and where better to start with the latest design by the ever-so-talented Rhys Ware or as we know him, Delancey Throne. I caught up with the Worcester-based, 25-year-old doodle god to talk art, bargains and hypnotic, ginger facial hair.
So, Mr Ware… Where did the name Delancey Throne come from?
It comes from the name of a gang within Coney Island from Sol Yurick’s novel ‘The Warriors’. Most people will probably know The Warriors from the amazing cult movie by the same name. Across the movie and novel, there are some incredible gang names: The Moon Runners, Golden Janissaries, and of course, Delancey Thrones. I’m a huge lover of the novel and film and wanted a name to express that love.
Who/what’s been your biggest influence?
A hard one, that. My biggest influence is an amalgamation of nearly everything, from artists to writers to businesspeople to dead presidents to what’s outside the front door. I tend to pick and choose aspects I like from people both ‘famous’ and not, things I aspire to do, mindsets I think best to adopt, and then throw it all together.
How long have you been creating art for?
This one’s not as straightforward as I imagine other artists are. As a kid, I drew a hell of a lot, and it was always dark. I used to fill up whole notebooks with my movie serial killer comics. I had Jason and Michael Myers and Freddy rising from graves and churches and lakes and then simply moving page to page and slaughtering.
Then I stopped, picked the pencil back up at eighteen, decided I wanted to be a comic book artist, learned basic anatomy for three months and then gave up and went to writing. It was only about a year and a half ago I picked up a pen and it all sort of clicked. I started getting a few people into my work, so my other half made me a Facebook page and forced me to upload there. It started to grow, and some seriously amazing people have asked me to design for them. The Killing Tree is probably the pinnacle of that.
Some seriously amazing people have asked me to design for them. The Killing Tree is probably the pinnacle of that.
How has your style changed since you started?
Hugely. I think everyone’s does, and so it should. My older work, it’s all so basic and featured quite a lot of superheroes and that. I’ve gotten so far from that now, although I still do enjoy doing my own take now and then. Most of my work was just a copy from a scene of a film still drawn in my style, but as I started to grow as an artist, I started to distance myself from that. It gets boring quite fast if you’re just drawing what’s already a thing, even if it is unique, in my opinion anyway.
Now I approach my work with more of an eye for composition, how pieces work and relate to one another, instead of just perhaps a single figure drawing. My ink technique has become far superior also, with the detail growing as time goes on. I like to keep it all mixed up. One day I could love drawing skulls and death and the next just emulating a meme or drawing pop culture icons I love. Variety is the spice and all that.
Black Friday is creeping up on us… Are you ready to start smashing infants out of the way for a bargain or are you more of a smartphone shopper?
I haven’t got time to start smashing infants out of the way; that’s my partner Abbie. You go into town with that little thing and she’s close to throwing her fists at the crowds purely for being there and in the way. I’ve got to keep my head screwed on to stop her from being in jail I think. Give me online shopping any day of the week just to stay away from that.
Your new design has just been released by the big guy upstairs at TKT, take us through the conception of this piece and how pleased are you with the outcome?
Karl approached me with the idea of an exploration into the juxtaposition of both sides of the human brain. He threw some things he wanted in the piece to me (the owl and paint brush, for example) but overall Karl gave me free roam. He’s brilliant like that, as he usually allows a lot of room to play about. I did two extremely rough sketches about the size of a credit card, inked the better one and sent it over to him for evaluation. This is a damn nerve wracking part of the commission process, for me anyway, as my sketches are always loose and terrible, so it requires the viewer a lot of imagination and forgiveness to see the potential in the design. Luckily, Karl has a good amount of both and gave me the all go.
Then draw the pencils on A3 Bristol Board and once that’s done get inking. I work almost strictly in traditional pen and ink, using Photoshop to mostly just adjust some levels and clean up the ink inconsistency the scanner picks up – that thing doesn’t like a lot of black.
I’m very, very pleased with how it turned out. Although, and I’m sure most artists will feel the same way as me in this respect, I always see the negatives in a finished piece. It’s difficult not to see them, and they will almost always be minor things that no one will pick up on. I believe an artist will never look at their full composition once complete, and the negatives will always flare up and take centre stage. As long as others like it, I’m happy.
The art world is chock full of talent at the moment. What advice would you give to newcomers who want to stand out?
I wouldn’t consider myself in any position to share much helpful advice (not yet, anyway), but one thing I have noticed to be a MUST is persistence and consistency. The mediocre artist that has been uploading their work for a few years will almost always have more of a following than an exceptional artist that has been uploading for half of one and then gives up. An increase of skill will always follow persistence and consistency.
What’s your day job and how does it compare to the life of Delancey Throne?
In my day job, I work in Assurance and Compliance with a further education college. It’s tough, very busy, and extremely methodical. It provides me with an escape from the art, just as much as the art provides me with an escape to work. Creating art is usually a solitary experience, so I do enjoy getting into the office because I work with an incredible team. Still, there are many days that I fill up sticky notes with mindless sketches when I actually should be working through audit papers. I’m sure my manager would tell you all about that if asked, though….
Yet again, we get the chance to interview a guy with some killer facial hair. Do you use any products to keep it from falling off? Also, we heard somewhere that having ginger in your facial hair is a sign of youth… Any comments?
Ginger? I think you mean Moulin Rouge…. I just shampoo and condition, same as the hair on my head. Nothing more than that really! For the terrible moustache, I do use Captain Fawcets Moustache Wax.
What’s your favourite scary movie?
I’m a MASSIVE fan of cinema, so I could seriously write a dissertation on this question, but I’ll keep it short.
John Carpenter’s The Thing. The special effects are jaw-dropping, even today, and Kurt Russel has a beard to die for.
If you want a serious headfuck, go Martyrs (the French version, avoid the US remake like an STI).
So there it is! By now, you’ve probably all got your Black Friday discount codes and rummaging through the TKT store to find a cheap-as-shit bargain so why not go show our boy Rhys some love by clicking right here! Remember, if you haven’t got your Black Friday discount code, you can sign up to The Killing Tree’s mailing list today and get some sick discounts before the other punters.
Words by Elliott Stubbings